Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - September - 2015 Issue

Images from the American West from the William Reese Company


Images of the American West.

The William Reese Company has published their Bulletin 38. Images of the American West. It features a variety of types of material – books, paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs. The subjects of these images, naturally, are found in the American West. The dates are from the 19th to the early 20th century. Many are quite artistic, even if their primary purpose at the time was relaying information about places unknown to most people on the outside. Here are a few of these western images.


We begin with the item pictured on the front cover of this catalogue. It is a photograph taken from Taos Pueblo, a cooperative effort from one of the West's great writers, Mary Austin, and its greatest photographer, Ansel Adams. Mary Austin was near the end of her career at the time this collaborative work was published in 1930. She had spent many years studying the Desert Southwest, particularly the Indians, whose rights she defended at a time when not many did. In 1903, she published her best known work, The Land of Little Rain. Later in life, she lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the time this book was published, she had reached 72 years of age. Photographer Ansel Adams, on the other hand, was near the beginning of his career. He was just 28 years old, and this was his first book, but his photographs of the West had already begun to be celebrated. While both were natives of California, and did most of their work there, this period found them in Santa Fe. Item 1. Priced at $60,000.


This pictorial letter sheet comes with an ironic caption: Tremendous Excitement! Samuel Whittaker and Robert McKenzie Rescued from the Authorities, and Hung by the Vigilance Committee... That certainly gives new meaning to the term "rescued." I'd have taken my chances with the authorities. This was 1851 San Francisco, and the Vigilance Committee was hard at work, taking on the responsibilities of the inept or corrupt local officials. Whittaker and McKenzie were part of what was known as the "Sydney Ducks." They were immigrants from Australia, the a British penal colony, though the Ducks weren't necessarily transports. They were criminals who did a good job of terrorizing the locals, but as the image on this sheet attests, they were no match for the Vigilance Committee. It displays the two men hung from posts above the top floor of a building while the caption tells us 15,000 people watched. Item 13. $1,500.


Next is a magnificent book, described by Howes as "the only western color plates comparable in beauty to those by Bodmer." Captain Henry James Warre, accompanied by Lt. Mervin Vavasour, was sent to Oregon by Britain to gather information about the region. Oregon was occupied jointly by America and Britain at the time, but America was in an expansionist mood and the English were wary of their intentions. Warre posed as a wealthy adventurer. He was a skilled artist, using his free time to draw some of the sights he encountered. By the time the men made it back home, Britain and the United States had already reached an agreement over borders, so his information wasn't really needed. Warre instead used what he had learned and his drawings to produce this book, published in 1848: Sketches in North America and the Oregon Territory, by Captain H. Warre. It contains 20 hand-colored lithograph views plus a map. Item 48. $160,000.


Item 29 consists of five watercolors of Pima Indians of southern Arizona drawn by a young man passing through on his way to the gold fields of California in 1849. Robert Benjamin Hart was only 15 years old, but his family had mined gold back in his home state of Virginia, so evidently they were seeking greener pastures. Why they picked the southern route in the middle of summer is unclear. They passed through the Pima territory in late July, when temperatures most likely exceeded 100 degrees. They must have rested with the Indians for awhile as he drew these five scenes of Aravaipa Canyon, including one in a tent with a group of Pima Indians. Hart made it to California, but evidently didn't like it as he returned to Virginia the following year, got married, had seven children, moved to Kentucky, and disappeared into history. $17,500.


Here is another fine drawing from an amateur artist. It depicts Fort D. A. Russell, Wyoming Territory, in 1869. The fort, and the adjacent city of Cheyenne, were founded two years earlier to serve the Union Pacific, which was busy building its share of the transcontinental railroad at the time. It was built to protect the workers from Indians, who must not have been as friendly as the Pima Mr. Hart encountered on his journey. Cheyenne would soon become a major trade city with the completion of the railroad, and the fort would eventually evolve into today's Francis E. Warren Air Force Base. The artist who drew this picture has signed it "A. F. Alden, Del. Aug. 1869." We do not know who Alden was, but most likely either a soldier or an employee of the railroad. Item 3. $12,500.


The William Reese Company may be reached at 203-789-8081 or amorder@reeseco.com. Their website is www.williamreesecompany.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
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    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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